Union education minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’, approved guidelines to develop e-content for children with disabilities with the objectives of promoting inclusive education.
PM e-Vidya programme was launched by finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on May 17, 2020 as a COVID-19 relief measures. Under the programme, expert committee has made detailed recommendations on creating accessible special e-content for Divyang, or children with disabilities.
Committee also recommends to create e-modules to train the content developers and curators to create and curate accessible content. This will enhance acceptability compliance. It will be mandatory for all content developers and curators to go through training modules.
Ratings agency, CRISIL, has cut India’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecast from 11 percent to 9.5 percent for fiscal year 2021-2022.
Medical scientists projected; India could be hit by third Covid-19 wave which have significant downside risk to the growth. It forecasted GDP growth to be around 8 per cent. Similarly, Reserve Bank of India has downgraded GDP projection from 10.5 per cent to 9.5 per cent in 2021-22.
Clinical trials of Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy was conducted globally. Therapy has emerged as a breakthrough in cancer treatment. It has shown promising results on end stage patients, especially in patients of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia.
BIRAC and DBT have initiated and launched specialised calls and invitation to promote and support development of CAR-T cell technology against cancer and other diseases.
CAR-T cell therapy costs rupees 3-4 crore for each patient. Thus, biggest challenge is there to develop this technology in cost-effective manner and make it available patients. Manufacturing of this technology is complex which increases the cost.
First CAR-T cell Therapy was done by IIT Bombay and cancer care in India at Bone Marrow Transplant unit of Tata Memorial Centre in Mumbai. CAR-T cells were designed and manufactured at Bioscience and Bioengineering (BSBE) department, IIT Bombay. This was also supported by BIRAC-PACE scheme. Now, this therapy will undergo Phase I and II trial of their CAR-T product through National Biopharma Mission.
MIT engineers have discovered a new way of generating electricity using carbon nanotubes. A new material made up of carbon nanotubes have potential to generate electricity by collecting energy from its environment.
This discovery grew out of research on carbon nanotubes. Carbon nanotubes are hollow tubes made of lattice of carbon atoms. These tubes have unique electrical properties. Potential of carbon nanotubes to generate thermopower waves was demonstrated way back in 2010. When Carbon nanotube is coated with layer of fuel, moving pulses of heat or thermopower waves travelling along tube generates electrical current.
When part of carbon nanotube is coated with Teflon-like polymer, it creates an asymmetry. This makes it possible for electrons to flow from coated to uncoated part of tube, which generates an electrical current.
Current version of particles can generate about 0.7 volts of electricity per particle.
CNTs are tubes made of carbon having diameter in nanometres. They are referred as single-wall carbon nanotubes and are one of the allotropes of carbon. They are intermediate between two allotropes of carbon- fullerene cages and flat graphene.
Foreign Minister of Maldives, Abdulla Shahid, was elected as new President of UN General Assembly (UNGA).
Abdulla Shahid won against Afghanistan’s former foreign minister Zalmai Rassoul with three-fourth majority. He fetched 143 votes while Rassoul got 48 votes out of 191 votes polled. Maldives will occupy office of President of UNGA for the first time.
Election to UNGA presidential post is held annually. It is rotated amongst various regional groupings. 76th UNGA session for 2021-22 was the turn of Asia-Pacific group.
Both Afghanistan and Maldives are having excellent relation with India. Even though, Afghanistan was first to announce participation, Maldives was first to declare its candidate’s name in December 2018. Afghanistan announced name of Zalmai Rassoul in January 2021. Thus, India had already extended its support to Maldives. India had announced its support for Abdulla during visit of Foreign Secretary Harsh Shringla to Maldives in November 2020.
UNGA is one among six principal organs of United Nations (UN). It serves as main deliberative, policy-making, and representative organ of UN. Chapter IV of the United Nations Charter empowers the organ and prescribes its composition, functions & procedures. UNGA is responsible for UN budget, and appointing non-permanent members to Security Council. It is the only UN organ where all member states have equal representation.
World Health Organization (WHO) has warned the countries against overpriced covid-19 vaccines substandard covid products.
Intermediates were selling one vaccine at a much higher price than actually sold by manufacturers. This issue of role of intermediates for buying vaccines was raised after a middleman in United Arab Emirates was caught selling Sputnik vaccines to Ghana and Pakistan at a double price. Several substandard and falsified covid products are being commercialised with vested interests.
WHO has advised countries to either buy directly from manufacturer or to contact manufacturer in order to ensure if intermediate is legal.
WHO has approved eight COVID-19 vaccines so far for emergency use including- Oxford–AstraZeneca, Moderna, Sinovac, Pfizer-BioNTech, Sinopharm-BBIBP, and Johnson & Johnson etc.
Mariangela Batista Galvao Simao is Assistant Director-General for Access to Medicines and Health Products at WHO.
Weyan, a remote village in Bandipora district of Jammu & Kashmir became India’s first village to vaccinate all its adult population against COVID-19.
Vaccination in the remote village was difficult and challenging as village comprises of nomadic families who go to higher reaches to graze their livestock. There is no internet access in village. Thus, it was not possible for them to get appointments on cowin portal to get vaccination.
Initially, there were vaccine hesitancy. Despite that, J&K has achieved 70 percent vaccination in 45+ age group which is almost double of nation’s average.
India was elected to the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) for 2022-2024 term.
ECOSOC is a 54-member Economic and Social Council, established in 1954 by a United Nations charter. Being the heart of United Nations system, it helps in advancing economic, social and environmental dimensions of sustainable development. It is the central platform to foster debate & innovating thinking. It shapes ways forward and coordinating efforts in a bid to achieve globally agreed goals. It organises follow-up, major UN conferences and summits. Promotion of high standards of living, full employment, economic & social progress, identifying solutions for global economic, social & health problems etc are important functions of ECOSOC.
Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC) of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has developed three types of cost-effective ventilators and an oxygen concentrator.
VSSC is a major space research centre that focuses on rocket and space vehicles for satellite programmes in India. It is located in Trivandrum (Kerala). It was renamed in honour of Dr. Vikram Sarabhai who is known as father of Indian space program.
Russian President Vladimir Putin recently signed a law formalizing Russia’s withdrawal from Open Skies Treaty, after United States withdrew from pact in 2020.
Treaty on Open Skies is a program of unarmed aerial surveillance flights over entire territory of participating countries. It is designed to enhance mutual understanding and confidence as it provides the participants, a direct role in gathering information about military forces. This pact entered into force in January 2002. It has 34 participants currently. It also provides mutual accountability for countries to follow treaty promises. It promotes openness and transparency of military forces. More than 1500 flights have taken place under this agreement.
Countries were allowed to openly conduct surveys on each other to prevent misunderstandings and limit escalation of tensions if any.
Concept of mutual aerial observation was first proposed at Geneva Conference in 1955 by U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower. However, Soviets rejected this concept.
World Bank has approved a USD 500 million program to boost MSME sector in India.
Emergency Response programmes, signed between World Bank and Government of India, are dedicated to enhance resilience of communities and livelihoods to address fragility, poverty and vulnerability pertaining to conflict and disaster. Under this program, USD 750 million loan was granted from International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) with maturity of 19 years. This loan will boost government’s efforts to channel liquidity towards MSME sector by de-risking lending from banks and Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs).
Supreme Courts’ e-committee released Draft Model Rules for Live-Streaming and Recording of Court Proceedings.
Draft Model rules were released with the aim of bringing greater transparency, inclusivity and access to justice.
Committee comprised of judges from Bombay High Court (HC), Delhi HC, Madras HC, Karnataka HC to frame draft live streaming rules. Committee invited inputs, feedback and suggestions on draft rules from all stakeholders.
These rules were framed by High Court of Judicature in accordance with Article 225 and Article 227 of Constitution.
According to World Employment and Social Outlook 2021, global unemployment is expected to be increased to 205 million in 2022 as compared to 187 million in 2019.
As per report, Covid-19 has caused an unprecedented disruption to labour markets worldwide. It has affected lives of younger generation caused disruption to their education. Regions where digital infrastructure is less developed were highly affected. It is now difficult for them to enter labour market and hold on to jobs. Thus, unemployment is going to increase.